Gray DogwoodCornus racemosa
A dense, multi-stemmed, erect growing shrub with short, spreading branches. Suckers from the roots form a large colony extending in all directions. The suckers while useful for making the shrub denser will need to be removed annually once the shrub is as wide as you want it. The reddish brown young stems form a contrast to the older gray bark. The summer foliage is a dull gray-green to dark green turning in the fall to a mixture of green, red, and purple colors. The fall foliage is usually not showy. The panicles of white flowers bloom for 7-10 days starting in late spring. The white fruit matures in late summer or early fall and is inconsistently persistent. The shrub's best ornamental feature is the reddish pink color of the pedicels (fruiting stalks) that are exposed when the fruit falls. The red color persists into fall and winter. The shrub grows best in moist, well-drained soil in full sun, but is adaptable to adverse conditions including poor, dry, wet, and compacted soils, heat, drought, and heavy shade. It requires only a light pruning to produce a neat, dense, informal hedge. It can be renewed by cutting back to the ground when it becomes too large and woody. It is occasionally grown as a small tree where it can be used for foundations, entranceways, borders, or as a specimen.